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A Haunted Homecoming
Four interceptions and a 4-yard punt spook Dawgs
By: Richard Linde, Posted 3 November 2002

In a belated Halloween party given on Saturday evening, the Washington Huskies supplied the treats and the UCLA Bruins did the tricking. Four interceptions and a four-yard punt were the Huskies' undoing as they dominated the statistics, but lost, 34-24,in a homecoming game played in Seattle. Going into the game, the UCLA pass defense was ranked number one in the conference.

Chris Singleton (pictured above) gained 92 yards rushing on the night, and was our player of the game for the Huskies. Considering the Huskies' anemic ground attack going into the game, Singleton's effort was a bright spot, on what otherwise has been a gloomy horizon.

Subtracting Tyler Ebell's (a.k.a, Mighty Mouse) first run of the night which went for 24 yards, the Dawgs held him to just 78-yards rushing on 30 attempts. In that part of a Dawg and mouse game, credit the Huskies' defense, which played one of its best games of the season. Unfortunately, its effort went for naught as Cody Pickett threw four costly interceptions that either led to UCLA scores or prevented Washington from scoring.

Cody wasn't entirely to blame, if blame is to be had.

Late in the game, with the UW trailing by three points, 27-24, Derek McLaughlin launched a four-yard punt from the UCLA 39-yard line. The ensuing exchange of field position proved costly.

The plan was to hold UCLA to a three and out, and the Husky defense did just that, forcing UCLA to punt. That was the good news.

Nate Fikse then rooted a 43-yard punt that was fair-catched by Charles Frederick on the Dawgs' 13-yard line. Instead of having good field position for its final drive, the Dawgs' came a cropper, being  87-yards away from a touchdown and 50 yards or so away from a tying field goal.

It was asking too much of Cody Pickett, or of any quarterback for that matter, to negotiate the necessary drive with just 2:19 left in the game, the problem being that he was facing the number one pass defense in the conference without the threat of play action.

After working the ball to the UW 35-yard line, Pickett threw his fourth interception of the game, which was returned by Spencer Havner, 42 yards for a touchdown. That ended what will forever be a haunting night for the Husky faithful: What could have been?

Bolting to a 24-14 lead at halftime, UCLA was content to sit on its lead in the second half and rely on its pass defense, which put a strong pass rush on Cody Pickett and blanketed Husky receivers. Forced out of the pocket on numerous occasions, Pickett made some ill-advised passes into coverage. Despite Singleton's performance, not being able to run the ball effectively in the early going, when it meant so much, was the Huskies' ultimate undoing.

UCLA did just enough to win, as they were playing with a true freshman quarterback, Drew Olson. UCLA was able to run the ball effectively in the first half, which took the pressure off Olson. When he was forced to throw, Olson benefited from outstanding pass blocking and was able to throw on rhythm for most of the game, something that Pickett was not able to do.

The statistics are misleading since Washington was forced to play catch-up for most of the night, while UCLA played a cat-and-mouse game because of Olson's inexperience. Washington out-gained UCLA,  498 to 316 total yards. The Dawgs posted 31 first downs to UCLA's 13, and won the time-of-possession battle. However, the important statistic is the scoreboard, and, in that phase, the Huskies came out second best.

Notably, the Huskies were penalized just 3 times for 24 yards, and, in another notable stat, Cody Pickett, with 8:36 left in the game, threw a short, side-line pass to Paul Arnold, who turned it into a 66-yard touchdown gallop, outracing several UCLA defenders to the goal line.

The game was reminiscent of last year's game in Corvallis, when the Huskies lost to OSU. In that game, the Dawgs tested their passing attack against the then-number-one pass defense in the conference. The Huskies were held to 191 yards passing and had one costly interception that turned a close game into a rout. The bucolic Beavers, which have turned coyote ugly, are the Dawgs' next opponent.

Team 1 2 3 4 Tot
UCLA 10 14 3 7 34
Washington 7 7 0 10 24

Time Team How Player(s) Score
1st Q
8:40 UCLA FG Fiskse 27 yards UCLA 3-0
4:58 UW TD Williams 13-yard pass from Pickett; Anderson kick. UW 7-3
:58 UCLA TD Ebell 1-yard run; Fikse kick UCLA 10-7
2nd Q
14:14 UCLA TD Ebell 1-yard run; Fikse kick. UCLA 17-7
10:58 UW TD Ware 20-yard pass from Pickett; Anderson kick. UCLA 17-14
5:28 UCLA TD Ebell 1-yard run; Fikse kick. UCLA 24-14
3rd Q
11:03 UCLA FG Fikse 23 yards UCLA 27-14
4th Q
13:44 UW FG Anderson 22 yards UCLA 27-17
8:36 UW TD Arnold 66-yard pass from Pickett UCLA 27-24
1:17 UCLA TD Haywood 42-yard interception return; Fikse kick. UCLA 34-24

Statistic UW UCLA
Total First Downs 31 13
  Passing 18 8
  Rushing 7 4
  Penalty 6 1
Total Net Yards 498 316
Net Yards Rushing 69 127
Net Yards Passing 429 189
Completions-attempted 29-60 13-29
Punts Average 31.2 31.8
Return Yardage    
  Punts Yards 1-2 3-63
  Kickoff Yards 4-84 2-57
  Interceptions Yards 0-0 4-97
Penalties Yards 3-24 13-87
Fumbles, Lost 0-0 0-0
Time of Possession  33:35 26:25

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Drew Olson 13 27 189 0 0
Cody Pickett 29 60 429 3 4
Rushing att yds tds    
Jason Harrison 1 9 0  
Drew Olson 3 -21 0  
Junior Taylor 1 31 0
Tyler Ebell 31 102 3
Chris Singleton 30 92 0
Cody Pickett 7 -30 0
Braxton Cleman 3 5 0
Zach Tuiasosopo 2 2 0
Receiving rec yds tds
Mike Seidman 5 96 0
Tab Perry 4 64 0
Craig Bragg 2 22 0
Keith Carter 1 9 0
Jason Harrison 1 -2 0
Reggie Williams 6 72 1
Chris Singleton 3 37 0
Pat Reddick 4 50 0
Charles Frederick 5 51 0
Paul Arnold 5 148 1
Will Hooks, Jr.  1 3 0
Kevin Ware 5 68 1
Punting punts yds long Avg
Nate Fikse 8 254   31.8  
Derek McLaughlin 6 187   31.2  

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